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The Camera House Blog

Develop BW Movie Film At Home

Published On: 11 Sep, 2018 12:07 PM

Develop BW Movie Film At Home


Posted: 09/04/2018 By: Owen McCafferty
Disclaimer: Neither the author of this post nor the FPP, claims any liability for any damage done to yourself or others by using the chemistry or following the instructions in this post. Proceed at your own risk. Note that professional film labs like ColorLab and Spectra Lab can and will process your home movie film.

So, you’ve decided to give black and white reversal movie film processing a go? Congrats! It’s a lot of fun, and the results are always satisfying. If you’re like me and you shoot a lot of black and white reversal movie film, doing it at home in your dark room will be life-changing. The amount you’ll save in processing costs will allow you to spend more money on film and less on pricy labs. The amount you’ll spend up-front to buy some of the equipment will seem like a drag, but if you shoot enough movie film and do the math, it soon starts to pay for itself.

 

You may have already seen some videos or read some articles on the net that go through the steps but, if you’re like me, you probably feel overwhelmed. There is either too little information, or too much—and then too many decisions to make. I’m approaching this little how-to from a ‘here is my method and it works best for me’ perspective. There are lots of other ways to approach black and white reversal movie film processing. I encourage you to try everything—but through my trials and errors, these methods have proved perfect for me.

Before we get into the nitty gritty here’s one thing you should know: if you want lab quality results—and I mean Steven Spielberg quality results—go to a lab. Processing move film at home is going to yield different results than if you were sending your movie film off to a big lab—the methods are scaled down, and unless you have an unlimited budget to spend on huge industrial equipment, you’ll never get your film EXACTLY like the big labs do. That being said, I’ve had extremely good results processing at home, and usually find it hard to compare my own developed film with that of the labs. But hey—that’s just me.

I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you already have a dark room, so I’ll spare some of the supplies from this list for the time being—or just assume you already have them.

This guide will also cover steps for the major formats: 16mm, Super 8mm, and Regular 8mm. But you could also apply the developing steps to 35mm still film, too!

above: A Lomo Processing tank.

Supplies

Processing chemicals (we’ll get more specific in a bit)

Mixing containers—up to 2 liters—they need to be plastic or glass.

Something to stir chemicals with (a plastic or glass spoon will work great—NO WOOD OR METAL)

Containers to store chemicals (you’ll want plastic containers—stay away from glass)

Rubber gloves (chemical safe—that will go up to near your elbow)

Safety goggles (GOGGLES not GLASSES--seriously—these are non-optional)

Rubber or plastic apron

Ventilation mask (more on this later)

A Lomo processing tank (more details below)

Movie-film drying rack (you can get creative here)

Lomo slitter (for regular 8 movies)

Splicer (needed for 16mm or regular 8 movies)

Press tape or film cement

Empty spool


COMMENTS

Hello Good article

Posted By: ANA WILLIAMS on 11 Sep, 2018 12:09 PM



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